Sacrilege to shut popular baths

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READING about cutting hours at Bramley Baths, one wonders if this is the first stop to closure.

I am now 70 years old. When I was at Christ the King school down Stanningley Road, we used to go for swimming lessons on afternoons, walking all the way there and back; even though some of us lived near to the baths we had to go back to school.

One very bad winter us pupils decided to strike, so we did not take our swimwear but Mr Pearce, the baths manager, was not having it. He made us all go up to the balcony and carry a chair down, a big feat for small children and we had to put them round the baths, lay across the chair and for the full hour practice our strokes. We didn’t strike again!

Then in the school holidays we used to go for a full day, taking sandwiches. You could buy a lovely cup of Bovril for 1d and it cost 3d to go for the whole day. When I had my own boys we took them on Sundays.

My eldest, who was not yet swimming, went with a group of friends. When he came home and told us he had dived off the top board on the Sunday we took him, my husband walked with him to the diving board, all the time expecting him to back down. He didn’t, he dived off and doggie-paddled back to the side. We were amazed.

He is 51 now and proud of the fact he has dived in seas all over the world, just completing his last goal, Egypt.

I have daughters and granddaughters who go the baths on a night when they finish work, swim as many lengths as they can, get out and go home for tea. Part of their fitness regime.

I think it would be sacrilege to do down such a facility. In my teenage years we spent wonderful nights dancing to Percy Blackburn and I have danced all my life because I caught the bug.

Mrs E Dalgleish, Bramley

Likeable grappler

YES, Ms Levi, I certainly remember Mario Majesti (YEP, March 16). As a teenager, when Professor Boscoe set up his boxing and wrestling booths on the Hunslet and Holbeck Moors, along with such as Battling Stanley and others whose names I forget, he was a frequent contender against Boscoe’s other men or spectators wishing to grapple for a wager put up by Boscoe, usually around 10 shillings. Of course they rarely won.

Mario used to make a great play of hitting his opponents with the knuckle of the hand where he lost his finger; but he was never without humour and a likeable man.

As Boscoe himself tried to whip up interest among feast-goers, to gain free entry I was coerced to stand on the stage with a potato on my outstretched hand, when he would bring down a sword, cutting the potato in two, leaving my hand undamaged. Proud as Punch to achieve such prominence and subsequent free entry I rarely missed a show. They were happy days.

As another point of interest, I also remember the old Brunswick stadium, run by a Mr Green, where wrestling and boxing took place. The husband of a cousin of mine, by the name of Owen Covick, boxed there; as also, I believe, did an old bowling friend by the name of Reg Clay.

E A Lundy, Beeston

l With regard to Edna Levi’s letter re wrestler Mario Majesti. As a young boy in the 1940s/50s, being brought up in the Beeston area, I well remember a wrestler of that name who fought in the booths at Beeston, Holbeck, and Hunslet Feast grounds.

He, along with another wrestler who went under the name Battling Blondie, were the star attractions at these events during the years of the Second World War and beyond.

Mario Majesti’s claim to fame was that he had a finger bitten off by an opponent while fighting at Madison Square Gardens in New York, however my and other parents in those days told a completely different story, that, in fact, his normal day job was working at the engineering factory of Forgrove on Dewsbury Road, and he lost the finger when got his hand caught in a machine at work.

We, as children in those days, preferred to believe the Feast Ground Barker’s version – much better than the real reason.

Peter Moore, Pudsey

Roll of honour

SERVICES of remembrance for those who served in the two world wars will mean more to later generations if they are not just names on a page.

As part of my project to provide a record of servicemen from the Washburn Valley who served in the two world wars, I would be interested to hear from anyone with information on those from Stainburn, Farnley, Leathley, Fewston, Norwood, Blubberhouses, Timble and Snowden, whose names appear on the Roll of Honour in Fewston Church.

Many families left the valley in the late 19th and early 20th centuries in search of work in the nearby towns, and their descendants may well live in Bradford or Leeds. I would like to appeal to any of your readers who may have these, or other family connections with the Washburn Valley, to contact me.

Diana Parsons, 37 Rupert Road, Ilkley LS29 0AT m.parsons@doctors.org.uk

Coming soon?

THERE is a saying “what happens in America today, comes to England tomorrow”. Very true where things like colour TV or credit cards or even fast food are concerned.

However, something far more significant is taking place in America, as the US Senate has endorsed new legislation in the State of Wisconsin, where the ‘rights’ of public sector workers to collective bargaining are to be abolished, on the basis that such rights can only be by consent of the employer.

If this policy was adopted by our government, it would eliminate problems over e.g. public sector pensions, with changes made at a stroke without fear of any opposition.

In those circumstances, threats of strike action would become meaningless, as would union membership itself.

If I were either a public sector union leader or member, I would think very carefully before even considering any rash action in the near future as their baby could literally go out with the bath water!

For this government to risk the economic recovery of our country by bowing to unaffordable demands over public sector pensions is inconceivable, so those unions and members must think carefully before taking any action which they might later regret.

D S Boyes, Rodley

Ulterior motives

I WOULD like to take this opportunity to correct your correspondent D S Boyes (Letters, March 15) in their assertion “That this country can no longer afford such generous pensions is in no doubt”.

The current pension can hardly been said to be generous. Lord Hutton’s Interim Report (page 28) suggests that the average pension paid to local government workers is just £4,052 a year, that’s £78 a week.

Looking into the future, the Office for Budget Responsibility in June 2010 estimated that the current cost of public service pensions is 1.8 per cent of GDP and on unchanged policies this will actually fall to 1.7 per cent in 2050, peaking at just 1.9 per cent before then (page 62). This attack on pensions funded by ordinary workers’ contributions cannot therefore be justified on economic grounds, so we are left to speculate about the true motive of this ConDem government.

Stephen Clark, Leeds

Name mix-up

ALTHOUGH I was pleased to see my letter ‘Hunger for power that drives LibDems’ printed in the YEP on March 13, I was somewhat amused to see my name as Adam Safdar Cross, when in fact it is Adam Safdar.

My dad said perhaps it would have been better if you’d called me Adam Safdar cross with the LibDems!

Adam Safdar, Cross Grasmere Street, Leeds

Night work

THE Laureates at Guiseley is a very pleasant development, owned and managed by Anchor Trust. The residents are elderly and some are disabled.

Last night, Monday, many of the residents did not sleep because roadworks were taking place.

The primary purpose of this letter, however, is not to complain about missed sleep but to ask for an explanation of the reason for employing workmen from Nottingham to work at night on Leeds roads.

If the Highways Department has money to spare at the end of the year surely it should be spent employing Leeds Council staff to repair Leeds roads.

Carol Brown, Guiseley

Convoy of hope

I AM full of admiration for everyone involved in the conveying of help to people in Romania. The “Yorkshire Aid Convoy” certainly shows what big hearts many Yorkshire people have.

Mavis Harrison, Leeds 15

YEP Letters: July 24